SAN DIMAS, Calif. — When new WesCorp Chief Financial Officer Jim Hayes was named Todd Lane’s replacement after just five years of heading the corporate’s marketing and business development department, those unfamiliar with Hayes and his background might have questioned the choice.
Turns out, Hayes already knew his way around WesCorp’s finance wing, putting in six years as the NCUA’s examiner for the $30 million corporate.
In 1998, Hayes even supervised the application process and recommended the NCUA Board grant the corporate expanded authorities under Regulation 704, which includes greater credit risk freedoms, the ability to engage in foreign currency transactions and the use of interest rate swaps.
“It was a big process, because in order to do my job as an examiner and feel comfortable with the applications, I had to learn everything there was to know about WesCorp–all the risks, systems, and processes in place–to ensure the corporate was safe and sound,” he said.
That extensive knowledge of WesCorp’s balance sheet will come in handy now as he takes over finance and accounting, as well as human resources and facilities.
The CFO said he’s glad to be back in the land of balance sheets, though his years in marketing have made him a better accountant and financial administrator.
“My new role is primarily internally focused, looking inward at the company and tackling internal projects, but WesCorp, as an entire organization, is member focused,” Hayes said.
“It’s a rule of thumb around here, if we can’t justify that something will better serve the membership, then we don’t do it. So, the fact that I spent five years externally focused, having that knowledge and working directly with members, will help.”
He also plans to infuse his inward-facing staff with the kind of rah-rah enthusiasm for WesCorp’s products and services that comes naturally in marketing and sales departments but often fails to connect with accounting and other support staff.
“I feel like I have a really good view of both sides of the house now, and I’ll develop and train my staff to make them feel more connected to their role, how what they’re doing translates into serving our members,” he said.
He added that regardless of an employee’s position on the organizational chart, most people are motivated by seeing that what they do helps someone else and has a direct impact on the bottom line.
Having only been on the job a few weeks, Hayes hasn’t yet developed an extensive to-do list, but said his general directive from CEO Bob Siravo is to improve processes and gain efficiencies. He’s planning to launch that effort with an efficiency audit of his division, utilizing WesCorp’s in-house organizational development staff.
“I’m not a status quo person, I don’t believe in doing things because they’ve always been done that way, so I think it’s safe to say we will do some things differently.”
Accountants aren’t usually known for their public speaking abilities, but in his new position, Hayes will also leverage one of his lesser known talents: educator.
While at the NCUA, Hayes was tasked with teaching his fellow examiners the ins and outs of derivatives. And, Hayes was chosen to lead WesCorp’s marketing department because, in large part, Siravo wanted a sales team with a better understanding of the technical merits of the corporate’s products and services.
Now, Hayes will teach WesCorp members.
“It’s likely we will unveil, sometime soon, a educational Webcast series for members on balance sheet management,” Hayes said.
The CFO heralded WesCorp’s Webcasting efforts, saying educational Webcasts are the perfect example of how the corporate can help members.
“They don’t even have to leave their desks, and they get the same level of education as if they had traveled all day,” he said, adding, “it’s all about efficiencies.”